We have joined the Amicus Solar Cooperative

certified_member_graphic_transparent-300x189

We have joined the Amicus Solar Cooperative! This is a very exciting development for us at ASV. What is Amicus? Amicus is a large national cooperative that is 100% member-owned by like-minded solar companies that share our vision for premium quality, efficient operations, and ethical & responsible business practices.

Many Amicus members are already Certified B Corps (like us) or are in the process of becoming Certified B Corps. We are really thrilled to be welcomed by our like-minded co-owners that share our vision and values.

What does Amicus mean for our customers? It means even greater access to the premium solar equipment we provide at the best possible market prices. It gives us the combined power of the entire cooperative to continue to drive our industry forward, innovate, and deliver the highest quality along with the best products.

It truly changes the future of solar in Alaska and charts our path into the next stage of our company’s future.

Learn more about the Amicus Solar Cooperative here: http://www.amicussolar.com/

The new Arctic Solar Ventures dot com

We’ve rebuilt our website from the ground up with the launch of version 3.0 of www.arcticsolarventures.com today. The entire experience has been tailored around you, our customer.

Getting you information faster; Explaining our process to you better; Allowing you to contact us easier; and Providing you with more of the information you need as clearly as we tell it.

It’s all about the user experience – and that is a direct reflection of our products. No other provider delivers a better experience, a higher quality product, or a more tailored interaction than ASV, because we put you (our customer) first.

We have also refreshed our brand to match what we deliver, as “Alaska’s Premium Solar Provider”. Premium products with a premium experience.

We’re so proud of what we do at ASV because we ask ourselves “how would I like to be treated?” or “how would I like to interact with this product, process, and service?”.

One small reflection of this is that you can now securely upload your utility bills to us directly from our “Contact” page.

We hope you enjoy the new arcticsolarventures.com and please let us know what additional features you would like to see in future incremental releases.

Regarding the 2018 solar tariff

We have received many questions and concerns regarding the recently announced Section 201 trade case decision, in which a graduated import tariff will be placed on imported solar PV modules and cells.

Let’s break down the facts on this tariff.

1. The tariff is on non-U.S. made solar PV modules and cells (a component of PV modules) only and does not affect other system components (90% of a typical solar installation);

2. The tariff will gradually step down from 30% in 2018, 5% per-year until it expires in 4 years;

3. The first 2.5 gigawatts of imported modules and cells will be exempt every year.

How does this affect Arctic Solar Ventures and our customers?

It has always been a priority for ASV to use U.S made solar PV modules and components therefore our customers can expect to see little effect from this tariff.

The solar industry in Alaska is a growing market and you can count on us to continue to deliver the best pricing, solutions, and resources for our customers.

Thank you,

Stephen Trimble

Founder | CEO

Tech Tidbit: What is Solar Load Ratio?

Solar Load Ratio is an important aspect of designing a PV system. Often overlooked and somewhat misunderstood – solar load ratio can make a mediocre solar project turn in to a star through skillful design.

The basic of solar load ratio involve the DC/AC power conversion that takes place in all solar PV systems. All solar PV modules produce DC power and inverters convert that into AC power, which we use in our homes and buildings. A 4.8kW (DC) array combined with 4kW of (AC) inverters has a solar load ratio of 1.2 (4.8kW / 4kW = 1.2). The difference between 4.8kW/ 4kW is called the “clipping loss” as the inverters clip the power output from the modules. Many designers use load ratios of 1.0 to 1.2, but we design our projects between 1.25 to 1.4.

How do inverters clip power?

Every inverter has a maximum power load that it receives from PV modules. This is important for two reasons. 1) output ratings of inverters have specific power and voltage ranges and 2) building AC panels also have maximum power ratings. Inverters do not output more than their maximum rated AC power. When DC input is higher than AC capacity, the inverter raises operating voltage of the modules to pull the array off of its max power point – reducing DC power output.

Why do 1.25 and above DC/AC ratios produce better performing projects in Alaska?

Two reasons. 1) Solar PV module outputs are rated at standard test conditions (STC). These conditions are rarely met in the field, but adjusting higher load ratios keeps modules performing at closer to STC conditions. 2) solar PV modules output at higher voltages in colder temperatures (and conversely lower in hot temperatures – lowering production). When modules are producing strong power outputs on a cooler day in Alaska this can produce close to STC conditions for short periods of time. Those times offer peak performance and clip power, but generally occur 10% or less of the time.

During the rest of the time having a higher load ratio along with our cooler air temperatures keeps modules perform at higher output levels for longer periods of time.

In an analogy, this allows a solar designer to keep the fuel tank (inverter) filled longer by the engine (PV module) to deliver better performance over time (kWh).

Let’s take a look at a 1.2 vs 1.4 load ratio. A 4kW AC system with a load ratio of 1.2 produces 4,238kWh a year. That system with a load ratio of 1.4 would produces 5,309kWh. That additional output ends up to be a lot over time. The more kWh you produce – the quicker your return.

1.2 Solar PV Load Ratio

1.4 Solar PV Load Ratio

This highlights how and why you can build solar in Alaska and have it perform and return just as well as anywhere in the United States. Producing power at rates at least half that of utility rates, returns of 8-10 years, and providing 50%-100% of annual power with solar.

We make solar specifically for Alaska. That is the Arctic Solar Ventures difference.

2017 Impact Report: Our Year in Review

Arctic Solar Ventures – 2017 Impact Report

As we welcome 2018 and reflect on 2017, we are so appreciative of our employees and all of our customers and vendors who supported us throughout the year. Having so many individuals and businesses support clean and renewable energy and a company trying to make positive changes has been not only humbling, but empowering.

Without a doubt, 2017 was a banner year for solar in Alaska. Solar is booming due to lower equipment costs, the extension of the thirty percent federal tax credit, rising utility costs, and local incentives (net-metering).

We are pleased to share our 2017 Impact Report with you. We culminated our impacts into four main categories; Economy, Safety, Community, and Environment.

In 2017, Arctic Solar Ventures employees spent 6,252 hours working on projects in and out of the office. We had many wonderful opportunities to team up with and utilize forty-five different companies around Alaska. We are grateful to be able to share our vision with so many businesses and look forward to working with even more in 2018. Aside from impacting the Alaskan economy by creating jobs and opportunities for Alaskan workers, we also saw half a million dollars in first year utility and tax savings by our customers!

Here at Arctic Solar Ventures, we spend a lot of time ensuring that all of our projects are completed in a timely manner while still keeping in mind the overall design of the house, and utilizing the highest quality products. Our employees spent 800 hours training with industry professionals this year to make sure we execute all of our projects correctly. Above all, we take the safety of our team members and customers into consideration every day. In 2017, out of 6,252 hours worked, we had zero safety incidents, zero time lost on projects, and zero equipment failures.

This year we were pleased to spend 350 hours with local organizations introducing a clean and renewable energy source and actively teaching our community members about the benefits of solar specifically in Alaska. We completed projects on low income housing, the UAA Admin building paid for by the Student Green Fee Board, and even a veterinary clinic in Homer. We held ten different workshops with organizations like Girl Scout Troop 483 and the Carpenters Union. We participated in community educational talks at 49th State Brewing Company, Bear Tooth, and the Nature Conservancy. We donated ten percent of our overall profit in 2017 to local charities and we look forward to giving back even more in 2018.

In 2017, Arctic Solar Ventures projects produced 2,000 megawatt hours of clean energy. Those projects offset the greenhouse gas emissions produced by 367 gasoline-fueled passenger vehicles per-year, or the equivalent of carbon dioxide emissions produced by 185 homes per-year. Our projects will sequester the amount of carbon equal to the planting and growth of 44,400 trees per-year.

2017 was an amazing year for solar in Alaska and for our company. Thank you to all of you who contributed to our success and continue to push for a better and safer economy, community, and environment. We wish you a happy New Year and look forward to expanding solar in 2018.

Community Solar is coming to Alaska next year.

We get a lot of questions about just what is community solar and what are its benefits. What exactly is Community Solar and what is “Utility” Community Solar?

Community solar is a program where multiple subscribers can purchase energy and share the benefits being produced at a nearby centralized solar installation. “Utility” community solar is when a utility company builds and owns the community solar array and allows it’s customers to purchase renewable energy from the shared facility, often times resulting in lower annual utility payments for the customer.

Why does community solar matter?

Some customers are simply unable to install solar panels on their own rooftops. Community solar participants who live in condos, rent, or have unsuitable rooftops for solar are all able to benefit from utility community solar programs by owning or leasing a portion of a system, or by purchasing kilowatt-hour blocks of solar energy generation. This also helps reduce CO2 emissions in their communities by giving participants access to clean solar energy sources.

Our teaming partner, Namasté Solar , completed this 2.5MW community solar project in Sterling, CO and added on an additional 500kW of solar at the Colorado Department of Corrections.

We are excited and look forward to projects like this starting to take place in Alaska in 2018.

Model Commercial Solar Projects in Alaska

In continuing our “model solar” series after taking a look at “residential solar” 2 weeks ago let’s take a look at what a model commercial solar projects look like in Alaska.

The starting point for this discussion is the baseline incentive provided by the solar investment tax credit (ITC), which is the same value currently as the residential solar energy tax credit at 30% through 2019 (when it begins to step down per the rules of its renewal in late 2015). In addition, businesses can claim two types of equipment depreciation with solar equipment – MACRS and Bonus deprecation, which account for an additional 25%-27% of incentives (in the form of tax deductions). These incentives are powerful drivers, but they are designed to not be around forever and (comparably to many other incentivizes industries) they are considered modest.

Commercial owners use more power than homeowners. This requires solar projects of a larger size. The variable size of businesses produces a big range of projects sizes (from 20-200 solar pv modules being the most common). With commercial projects more stringent permitting and engineering requirements increase costs. Authorities Having Jurisdiction (AHJs) permitting in Alaska is based on a percentage of project value and can range from $400-$2,500 or more. We produce both structural and electrical drawings for our projects as well. These add costs, but ensure long-lasting and successful projects.

This results in projects that have similar paybacks to what you see on the residential side of solar (typically 8-10 years). Outside of Anchorage this can change with the applicability of an additional incentive; the USDA REAP grant. The grant can add up to 25% of project capital coverage through a reimbursement grant (post project completion and subject to competitive award). This powerful incentive, coupled with the ITC and MACRS+Bonus depreciation produce projects in Alaska of nationally attractive paybacks. The projects we have done involving these three coupled incentives produce paybacks from 5-7 years, which is very attractive for any area of the United States. From an investment standpoint this translate to projects with internal rates of return (IRR) in the 15%-20% range.

Looking strictly at kWh savings per year we see businesses saving (again, dependent on size) between $1,000-$20,000+ per year.

Commercial solar has a lot of untapped but rapidly growing potential in Alaska. Individual projects of 25kW in size and smaller also qualify for net-metering, thus allowing the sell-back of overproduction in the form of credits with utilities (acting as the battery for these projects as well).

As a tool that can both lock-in energy rates long term and reduce annual operating costs (in reduced utility bills) commercial solar makes great sense in the Alaska market.

As a side note we have also just introduced a new, penetration-less roof mounting system to Alaska (for flat commercial rooftops) that is very exciting and keeps existing roof membranes completely intact and warrantied.

As always, we are here as your solar resource and are here to answer your questions and provide education where we can.

Happy Solar-ing Alaska!